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A new disc-equipped Reynolds 631 road bike from Genesis Bikes for £1,499

The new Equilibrium Disc combines a Reynolds 631 frame and fork with Hayes CX Expert disc brakes,  H+Son Archetype/Shimano XT wheels and a Shimano 105 groupset for £1,499. We've just got our hands on one to review, and here it is. Let's take a closer look.

The Equilibrium has been a firm road.cc favourite over the years, with the steel and titanium version both going down well with our testers. More recently they introduced an 853 version which our Dave awarded a four star review. He liked it a lot. This new Disc version is their latest addition to the growing range, and is the first time discs brakes have been offered in the Equilibrium range.

Genesis has been offering disc brakes elsewhere in its range for a number of years, such as the Croix de Fer for an example. It was only a matter of time before the popular and always well-received Equilibrium got the disc treatment.

As regular readers will know, disc brakes are the hot topic in the road cycling world this year, and you don’t have to go far before encountering some divided opinions. One thing is for sure, on a bike like this, designed not for racing but for fast and comfortable leisure riding, touring and commuting, there’s a very strong argument for the benefits of disc brakes.

This new Equilibrium Disc is a fine looking bike. The skinny Reynolds 631 tubes are beautifully paired with the lugged and raked fork, and it’s all topped off with a thick coat of gloss black. Understated and classy are two words that spring to mind. Purposeful and fast are another two, and with the same geometry as the regular Equilibrium, the handling should be very familiar to anyone who has ridden a Equilibrium.

There’s one key difference - they’ve added 2mm to the chainstays to ensure a clean chain line for reliable shifting with the wider 135mm rear wheel spacing. The wider spacing of the rear wheel pushes the chain further out when in the smallest sprockets of the cassette, if the chainstays are too short there is the potential for the chain to foul on the chainset or front mech when in certain gear combinations. This change also has the benefit of providing extra clearance so that 28mm tyres and full-length mudguards sit happily in the frame.

The rear brake caliper has been mounted on the outside of the seat stay, just above the cowled dropouts and mudguard mounts. We’ll get a set of ‘guards on it and see how easy it is to fit them them with the caliper where it is. There’s a small tube reinforcing the dropout area between the chainstay and seatstay.

Genesis has worked hard on the details and made the smart decision to go the extra mile with the wheels: H+Son Archetype 23mm wide rims are laced to Shimano Deore XT  M756 6-bolt hubs  with double-butted spokes. The wheels really add to the Equilibrium’s aesthetic appeal and nicely match the frame and fork. A pair of  Continental Grand Sport Race 25mm wire beaded tyres are fitted, but you could go wider, up to 28mm if you fancy it.

Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes with 160mm lightweight rotors are found at both wheels. Genesis told us they had thought about going for smaller and lighter 140mm rotors, but decided that customers would probably prefer the extra stopping power of the bigger rotors and be less concerned about a marginal weight increase.

Shifters and both derailleurs are from the Shimano 105 catalogue, while the compact 50/34 chainset is a non-series R565 item. It’s paired with a 12-27 cassette. That gearing will give you a good set-up for getting its 10.85kg (23.92lb) weight up the hills. That's for a size 58cm by the way. We reckon it’s carrying about an extra 1kg over the similarly specced non-disc braked Equilibrium, and part of that weight will be in the steel fork, some in the wheels and possibly the brakes too. It’s a small weight difference, but the performance benefits as we head into winter could pay dividends. Dave will be finding out because he’s the elected reviewer, since it arrived in his size.

Finishing kit - that’s the handlebar, stem, bar tape, saddle and seatpost - is all Genesis own-brand 0.3 Road kit. It’s all good stuff, the Prime saddle looks a comfortable shape and bars have a compact shape with a 70mm reach and 125mm drop. The seatpost is 27.2mm diameter.

All that for £1,499. Seems well priced to us. Alternatively you can buy the frameset (frame, fork, seat clamp) for £549.99. More at www.genesisbikes.co.uk

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

13 comments

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mattsccm [355 posts] 3 years ago
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Fork is near 400 g heavier than a carbon one.
Rough weights, I did have the numbers.
Not convinced the steel is anything wonderful in its profiles. double butted or straight?
What about things like seat stays?
No t knocking this bike, in fact its on my short list but I do wonder about the weight as well.

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mrmo [2093 posts] 3 years ago
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Maybe it is me, but that seems quite heavy? My steel road bike is around 19.5lb with no real effort to save weight. Platinum OX frame, and Veloce/Centaur/Chorus build, 32 spoke wheels the only carbon is the fork and that does include the pedals.

So nigh on 24lbs with no pedals? so best part of a pound there, plus any likely build is likely to contain mudguards so another couple for mudguards?

Not saying it won;t do its job, just that the weight seems surprisingly high.

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cowspassage [43 posts] 3 years ago
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I look at the spec and you think, why does this limit you to 28mm tyres. Why not let it go to 35 mm and it could fill in for touring, or a bit of off road. But, of course, that's what the Croix de Fer does. So it's a limited Croix de Fer with skinnier tubes and nice wheels.

I wouldn't mind a set of the wheels if they've any spare.

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andyspaceman [252 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

Maybe it is me, but that seems quite heavy? My steel road bike is around 19.5lb with no real effort to save weight. Platinum OX frame, and Veloce/Centaur/Chorus build, 32 spoke wheels the only carbon is the fork and that does include the pedals.

So nigh on 24lbs with no pedals? so best part of a pound there, plus any likely build is likely to contain mudguards so another couple for mudguards?

Not saying it won;t do its job, just that the weight seems surprisingly high.

For reference, I have a blinged-up 725-tubed equilibrium with the carbon/alu fork, full Ultegra group, Shimano RS80 C24 wheelset, Conti GP4000s 23mm tyres, Thomson post/stem, FSA carbon handlebars, a Fizik Ti-railed saddle and carbon bottle cages. So with some very definite effort to lighten it (I rode it across the Alps last year) I got it down to about 19lb inc. Ultegra alloy pedals for a 56cm.

So I'd say that Genesis probably err on the side of strength/caution when picking their tubeset profiles. Have never weighed the frame, but I reckon a mid-range carbon bike with that kind of spec would be about 2-3lb lighter.

Not that I'm too worried, it rides very nicely indeed.

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localsurfer [202 posts] 3 years ago
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Does seem heavy, my 853 steel bike is 16lbs and a bit (although it is a teeny 48cm frame).

But, it's in the ride. A good steel bike will ride better than a rubbish carbon one.

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BenH [6 posts] 3 years ago
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I have a scarily similarly spec'd Cotic X, complete with the same XT M756 hubs - which are great, but boy are they heavy!

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mrmo [2093 posts] 3 years ago
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localsurfer wrote:

Does seem heavy, my 853 steel bike is 16lbs and a bit (although it is a teeny 48cm frame).

But, it's in the ride. A good steel bike will ride better than a rubbish carbon one.

But is this a good steel frame?

Hi Ten Gas pipe and 953 are both steel, the rides don't compare.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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looks great but as with most Genesis bikes, dull old colour!

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Jones The Steam [36 posts] 3 years ago
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Classy. I'd have one.

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Hoester [68 posts] 3 years ago
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Just imagine if we all liked and rode the same bike, how boring would that be? FWIW, I love mine.
Yes its not light, but it depends where, how and why you ride as to how much of a problem that is. Here in the Fens & East Anglian lowlands its not a big issue. Besides, hopefully the 'weight training' will make the summer bike fly when I get back on it in 2014! Just a shame it doesn't come in Chartreuse [kidding].

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andyspaceman [252 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

But is this a good steel frame?

Hi Ten Gas pipe and 953 are both steel, the rides don't compare.

Hi-ten gas pipe and 953 will ride pretty much identically if the tube profiles are the same.

The difference with the hi-spec steels i that they can be drawn into thinner-walled tubes and still retain strength, allowing a lighter frame to be built.

Different techniques are used to achieve the strength of a tubeset - air hardening in the case of 631. It is not especially high in terms of it's outright strength (compared with 853, 953, etc) but lends itself well to shaping. So is typically picked for applications where good ride feel and strength are are pamount.

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Kloudy [6 posts] 3 years ago
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Had mine for a few weeks one and generally I'm very pleased with it. Bought mainly as a winter bike to replace an old Ribble Winter hack. The LBS who I bought it from threw in a set of guards which the had to modify to go around the disc brakes but still look neat. I have had some rattling noise here though but hoping I can sort this with a bit of fettling.
Longest ride so far was the 64 mile Tour of Worcester Sportive on Sunday which involves some pretty serious climbs. The minor roads were wet and greasy and full of potholes and it the bike coped really well with the conditions. The disc braking feels very reassuring and the 25mm tires are a brilliant balance between low rolling resistance and grip.
So the only issue is the weight and there's no doubt it is a bit of a beast and it was a tough old climb up to Wyche Cutting at Malvern and even harder at Ankerdine Hill, at 17% average gradient, despite some very helpful gearing.
The flip side is that it is a really comfortable ride which offsets the weight induced fatigue to some extent and the pounds are not an issue at all on less hilly terrain. Even so, I was pleased I'd decided against the even hillier 92m option.
I'm hoping that the extra weight will actually pay dividends as my winter rides tend to be slightly shorter ones so I'm hoping that I'll be good and strong when I return to my carbon Bianchi next spring.
All in all I am really happy with the bike and it looks pretty nice in a modern classic kind of way too.

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mrmo [2093 posts] 3 years ago
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andyspaceman wrote:
mrmo wrote:

But is this a good steel frame?

Hi Ten Gas pipe and 953 are both steel, the rides don't compare.

Hi-ten gas pipe and 953 will ride pretty much identically if the tube profiles are the same.

The difference with the hi-spec steels i that they can be drawn into thinner-walled tubes and still retain strength, allowing a lighter frame to be built.

This is the point though, a 953 steel frame, also depending on which tubes are 953 will use tubes designed to make use of the material properties, a 4130 frame will have to work with the constraints of the material, likewise 631 etc etc.

Then you have the common trick of main tubes are Chro-Mo whilst the remainder are Hi Ten.

The resulting frames will ride differently steel is not steel. Take a old Peugeut Persius(?) 753 frame and compare it to genesis Volant 953, both are high end steel but there is very little in common with the designs performance etc.